Wireless Systems Design

Mouse Brings 360-Degree Cursor Navigation To Handhelds

For the wireless Internet to succeed, it has to do more than overcome technology limitations. The interface must change so that users can more easily navigate the web. As a possible solution to this problem, Interlink Electronics has come out with MicroNav. Measuring less than 10×10×1.4 mm, this device is actually an original-equipment-manufacturer (OEM) mouse. It promises to enable precise cursor navigation for consumer handheld devices like cellular phones, wireless e-mail devices, portable digital assistants (PDAs), tablet PCs, Global Positioning Systems (GPSs), and even digital cameras.

Essentially, MicroNav delivers 360° "mouse" navigation for new applications, such as Internet browsing, e-mail, gaming, and on-board image editing as well as traditional "mouse" functions. Using the company's patented Force Sensing Resistor (FSR) technology, MicroNav sensors should easily integrate into portable consumer devices. They are solder-reflow compatible for pick-and-place high-volume manufacturing.

MicroNav promises to deliver smooth pressure-controlled cursor acceleration and a complete set of actuator designs. It is available in three standard configurations. The Sensor Only version of MicroNav provides just firmware in the form of object code libraries. The Chip-and-Sensor form comes with a microprocessor. It is available in serial, PS/2, and USB interfaces. Finally, the Sensor-On-Board has MicroNav mounted on a PCB with a microprocessor and rubber actuator. This version targets small- to medium-sized footprints that require a drop-in cursor-control solution.

Pricing for MicroNav varies by configuration and quantity. For example, the average cost for the Sensor Only configuration in consumer quantities is estimated at $1.00.

Interlink Electronics, Inc.
546 Flynn Rd., Camarillo, CA 93012; (805) 484-8855, www.interlinkelectronics.com.

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